Erasmus University, Rotterdam - NL

Vibrant university at the "gateway to Europe"

With an international focus and located at the "gateway to Europe", the Erasmus University in Rotterdam's reputation precedes it as an excellent place to study. The high quality of its teaching and research, along with strong partnerships with international colleges and institutes, mean that the Erasmus University has earned a place amongst the top ten universities in Europe. Today more than 20,000 students from all over the world study and do research here – a number that is increasing.

Erasmus University Rotterdam is revitalising its campus

In order to make it a more attractive place to study and work, the university's Woudenstein Campus, which covers 28 hectares, is currently being renovated in sections. As well as modernizing some of the outdated buildings and planning some new ones, the main focus of the project is on enhancing the public spaces.

The board of the university is aiming to create a vibrant and sustainable campus with international appeal based on a masterplan by Juurlink + Geluk, a design office based in Amsterdam that specializes in landscape architecture. The architects envisage an ambitious landscape design resembling parkland with plenty of green space, a pond, inviting communal areas between the faculty buildings, areas for parking bicycles and paved walkways to breathe new life into the campus where space was previously used mainly as a car park.

© Industrielicht B.V.
© Kris Dekeijser

Erasmus Plaza and Erasmus Pavilion as new centrepieces

The most important element in the masterplan is a functional restructuring of the Woudenstein Campus. "This realignment was made possible by creating two new main axes: the 'Erasmus Plaza' and the 'Institutenlaan'," says architect John de Groot of the Juurlink + Geluk design office in summary. The two axes facilitate orientation and short distances between the surrounding buildings.

Laid out as a wide boulevard with opportunities to sit in the shade and park your bicycle and with steps lined with hedges leading down to the sweeping pond at the heart of the campus, Erasmus Plaza acts as a vibrant meeting point that encourages communication. Although originally designed as a water retention basin, the pond functions as a pleasant and calming anchor on the busy campus. The entrance for more than 3,000 underground car parking spaces is almost hidden between the many newly planted Japanese cherry trees along Erasmus Plaza.

Another attraction at the heart of the campus is the newly built Erasmus Pavilion – flooded with light, this meeting point has different areas for use for cultural events, lectures and conferences. For example, the pavilion has a café with a terrace, a theatre and flexible workspace and conference rooms. The all-glass façade makes for a smooth transition between indoors and outdoors while taking sustainability issues into account. Dynamic, aluminium louvres installed in the façade let in the optimal amount of daylight and as a result keep energy consumption exceptionally low.

Lighting for open spaces

The lighting concept also follows the masterplan's basic idea. "The lighting solution was intended to support the effect and appeal of the public space in a timeless way," explains architect John de Groot. In this context, the planners chose RESIDENZA luminaires and RAVENNA in-ground luminaires by Hess. "Both models are compelling for their understated design," adds de Groot.

Now 70 RESIDENZA luminaires bathe the Woudenstein Campus in atmospheric light while 30 RAVENNA spotlights accentuate groups of trees in selected locations on the Erasmus Plaza. High-performance LED LEVO modules with the light colour 3000 K provide the RESIDENZA models' high quality of light.

They perfectly match what John de Groot envisaged: "In our vision for the campus design, the lighting job's was not to set the tone but rather to meld with the surroundings." As such, the stylish models by Hess harmoniously complement the campus ambience and showcase its special features effectively in the evening and at night-time.

The lighting solution was intended to support the effect and appeal of the public space in a timeless way"

John de Groot
Juurlink + Geluk

Project information

Town / Country
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Lighting design
Industrielicht B.V.
Erasmus University Rotterdam,
jvanspijker Architekten
Landscape architect
Juurlink + Geluk, Amsterdam,